October 26, 2019 / 12:52 PM / a month ago

Turkey will remove Kurdish YPG from Syrian border area if Russia won't

Turkey-backed Syrian rebels drive near the border town of Tal Abyad, Syria October 24, 2019. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey will clear the Kurdish YPG militia from its border area with northeast Syria if Russia does not fulfill its obligations under a bilateral accord clinched this week, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday.

Under the deal hammered out by Erdogan and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, Russian military police and Syrian border guards are meant to clear the YPG fighters from within 30 km (19 miles) of the border. Ankara views the YPG as a terrorist organization.

Erdogan also repeated a previous threat to “open the gates” for refugees to head to Europe if European countries did not support Ankara’s plans for a “safe zone” in northeast Syria where he wants to resettle the refugees currently residing in Turkey.

Writing by Ezgi Erkoyun; Editing by Gareth Jones

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